Just Graduated? Here’s How to Land Your First Corporate Planning Job – Part 1
Alyssa Perna is the Head of Operations & Productions for the Americas at Smithers and the lead instructor (and tutor!) for QC’s Corporate Event Planning course. In Part 1 of her job-hunt series, she gives her best tips on making yourself visible amongst your competition when applying for your first job!
One of the most difficult transitions of my life was when I graduated and began looking for a full-time job. I felt uneasy about beginning the job hunt. It certainly didn’t help that many of the jobs required experience that I didn’t have and skills I had yet to master.
The hunt for your first job after graduation doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming! Here’s a checklist of ten must-haves to help you land your first corporate event planning job after graduation!
You’ve got the skills
Before applying for a specific job, make sure you have 80% of the required skills.
These skills could include…
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
- Event design and branding
- Venue selection
- Budget management
Have you noticed that this list is a mix of hard and soft skills? If you’re interested in a career in event planning, you probably already have the soft skills to succeed. For the technical (hard) skills, you’ll learn them through professional training and hands-on practice! Mastering any skill takes patience. But especially in a dynamic field like event planning, you’ll benefit from an expert mentor who knows the industry inside out.
Taking a professional course and learning from an experienced planner means graduating with the most up-to-date skills and knowledge to succeed. If you’ve completed any event planning course that QC Event School offers, you’ll know that you’ve gained the necessary skills to land a corporate events job.
Experience will give you an edge-up
Employers typically prefer candidates with prior experience in a similar role. But if you’re a fresh-faced graduate, how can you gain experience without first having a previous job? If you don’t have any experience to boast about on your resume, there’s still hope! You just have to get creative!
You could volunteer on a planning committee for a local non-profit’s event. Another popular avenue is applying for an event internship. Finally, you could do pro-bono work for an organization that needs the help. Formal experience isn’t the only experience that employers are looking for!
Put it on paper
Now that you have the skills and experience, it’s time to put in on paper – and by that I mean build your resume! I could write an entire blog post dedicated to the importance of a well laid-out resume, but let’s focus on the headlines for now. Your resume should include:
- An objective that summarizes the goal of your job hunt
- Personal information like your name, location and your contact information
- Education and relevant coursework, completed and or in-progress, to flex your skills
- Work and related experience
- Accolades such as awards, achievements or even volunteer experiences
Don’t forget to make your resume appealing to the eye! Googling resumes will give you ideas on how to make your resume visually appealing to stand out from the competition. Getting creative with your resume is great, but don’t get too carried away with crazy fonts and neon colors!
Put it online
Now that you’ve built your foundation – a combination of your skills, experience and a well-written resume, it’s time to update your online presence. Don’t confuse a potential employer with an outdated, virtual profile of yourself. Your message should be cohesive across all online platforms. Have the “latest and greatest” version of yourself updated, online, searchable and available to prospective employers.
Build a website that features your skills and experiences—always present your best self! And update your Google online profile, especially if you have Gmail. You should be relevant on these social media sites, too:
- LinkedIn – the best website for professional networking
- Instagram – post photos of your events in-action!
- Pinterest – show off your event design skills with the latest trends, decor and seasonal color schemes!
The hunt begins
Now the fun begins! It’s time to start the official job hunt.
Think about the type of job you want and the title that comes with it. If you’re just starting out, you may be looking for roles like Event Coordinator, Event Planning Assistant, or Catering Operations Coordinator. If you have some solid experience but haven’t done the job in a full-time role yet, you may be looking for an Event Manager or Catering Sales Manager role. As you figure out the type of job you want, start searching for the job titles on relevant job posting websites.
Here are my favorite websites that have helped me to find great opportunities:
- LinkedIn – a great place to house your professional profile and hunt for jobs!
- Glassdoor – this website is a gem! Not only can you find job opportunities but you can also search for, and read, employee reviews on companies you are interested in working for and so much more!
- Flexjobs – for flexible and remote job opportunities
These are just some of my favorite sites. Indeed, Monster, Snagajob, and CareerBuilder are also great portals for the job-hunting planner. Make sure to sign up for accounts and turn on those notification features! These accounts are (mostly) free and allow you to access many benefits and features. You’ll be able to:
- Upload your resume for potential employers to search and find
- Select your area of interest – the type of industry you want to work in, including your job title, region or work location, salary requirements, and more
- View recently posted jobs relevant to you you; email notifications can be set up as daily, weekly or monthly
Got any resume writing tips? Leave them in a comment and check back in a few days for part 2!